Secession Era Editorials Project
THE HARPER'S FERRY AFFAIR.
Massachusetts, Daily Evening Transcript [Republican]
(24 October 1859)
A Gentleman from New Hampshire, who has been on a
tour through the western and central parts of the Union, was in the
vicinity of Harper's Ferry, during the late difficulties, and was a
witness to the closing scenes of that affair.
According to his representations, the panic Mr.
Brown with his handful of deluded followers created in Maryland and Virginia was not at
all creditable to the people or authorities of the vicinity.
They showed the "white feather" in a manner to plainly reveal the inherent
weakness of society where slavery is tolerated and free labor regarded as
The fact almost exceeds belief, that seventeen white men and five blacks --
only twenty-two persons in all -- should not only be able to take possession of
the Armory of the United States, but retain it
for hours, and not be driven therefrom until the arrival of the military
The gentleman above named expresses the opinion that five resolute men could have dislodged "the revolutionists" in
But terror seems to have seized upon all classes of persons in the
immediate vicinity, and the population behaved as madly and wildly as the
residents of the interior of New England, where a
great fire does not occur more than once in half a century, do, when a large
To use the word "chivalry" in connection with such cowardice as the
Virginians displayed, is to be guilty of the severest sarcasm.
The compliments Gov. Wise lavished upon the
citizens of Harper's Ferry when he ascertained the
true state of the case, savored rather of strength than of righteousness.
Well may the
Baltimore American say:
Gathering all the facts and rumors concerning
the late affair at Harper's Ferry together, it is
difficult to decide whether it should be called a ludicrous tragedy or a solemn
This document was produced as part of a document analysis project
by Lloyd Benson, Department of History, Furman University.
(Proofing info: Entered and proofed by Lloyd Benson.)
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